by Alan Babbitt
A demanding two-week stretch for the 16th-ranked Hope College men's soccer team ended with a fortuitous bounce.
A failed Kalamazoo College clearing attempt late led to an own goal and a 2-1 victory for the Flying Dutchmen Saturday night at Van Andel Soccer Stadium.
Hope rebounded from its first loss of the season on Wednesday to raise its record to 10-1 overall and 1-1 in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association play.
The Flying Dutchmen were playing at home for the first in five matches. They had traveled to Chicago, Washington, D.C., Delaware, and fourth-ranked Calvin College to play.
"It's been a difficult two weeks for us in terms of travel, academic requirements, etc," head coach Dave Brandt said. "We just haven't been our best, so it was important for us tonight to get a result somehow. We just had to grind it out."
Hope scored two unanswered goals during the second half to beat Kalamazoo (3-8, 0-2 MIAA). The Flying Dutchmen overcome a 1-0 halftime deficit.
Junior Isaac Braak of Grand Haven, Michigan (Grand Haven HS) struck first for Hope with his third goal of the season 4 ½ minutes into the second half.
The Flying Dutchmen avoided overtime with 2:09 remaining. Senior James Reymann of Columbus, Ohio (Worthington Kilbourne) sent a pass ahead to a charging Logan Bylsma of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) at the top of the penalty box.
In an attempt to clear, a Kalamazoo defender chipped the ball over his goalie's head and into the net.
"James crosses such a good ball. When you get in a good crossing position and put in a ball that's difficult to handle, things can happen," Brandt said. "Clearly, the second half was much better than the first for us. We needed a half to get going.
"We've been so spent the past two days, we haven't trained. I've never done that before. We rested and found our legs, but we weren't sharp. That really hurt us in the first half. We made some adjustments at halftime. It was important we fought back."
Hope's next match is Tuesday at home against Olivet College. Kickoff is 7 p.m.